Category Archives: Science

TMT Providing Loads of Classroom & Scholarship Money

I wrote about the THINK Fund back when it was getting started. It’s a grant and scholarship program provided by the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory to prepare Hawai‘i Island students to master science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to become the workforce for higher-paying science and technology jobs in Hawai‘i’s 21st-century economy.

TMT contributes $1 million per year to the scholarship THINK Fund, which is now in its second year. It specifically benefits students only on Hawai‘i Island.

To date, more than 8,000 students and 150 teachers on Hawai‘i Island have been directly involved in a project supported by the THINK Fund  at HCF – and it’s only been 15 months.

THINK stands for “The Hawai‘i Island New Knowledge” Fund, and funds are distributed by the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF) and the Pauahi Foundation.

Of TMT’s $1 million annual contribution, $750,000 goes into the THINK Fund at HCF. Part of those funds go towards building a THINK fund endowment at HCF, so STEM learning on this island is supported long into the future.

The THINK Fund at HCF provides two types of grants:

1. Classroom Project Grants,for teachers in the public and charter schools, support STEM learning projects for grades 3-12. Teachers can post about a project for consideration on anytime, and if they meet the criteria it is usually funded within a week or two.

More than $85,000 has gone to STEM classroom project grants since November 2014. Just since the beginning of this 2015-16 school year, 30 teachers have received funding for student learning materials such as National Geographic Space Building and Ocean Building kits, microscopes, laptops, and compasses.

Some other specific STEM classroom projects that have been funded by THINK:

  • Applied Science supplies and kits to the Volcano School of Arts and Science public charter school, grades 3-5
  • What is STEAM & Why My Students Need Your Help Please, to the Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School, grades 3-5
  • Future Health Professional—Providing Hope for the Rural Community, to Ka‘ū High & Pahala Elementary School, grades 9-12
  • Narrow the Achievement Gap in Mathematics, to Konawaena Middle School, grades 6-8

2. STEM Learning Grants, for non-profit organizations and schools, are awarded through an annual application process. The substantial amount of money awarded each year keeps going up.

In 2014, the THINK Fund at HCF gave $200,000 to launch the STEM Learning Grants. So many compelling community requests were received for grants, though, that HCF recruited other organizations to contribute to the funding too, and it received another $300,000.

As a result, in March 2015, $500,000 in STEM Learning Grants were awarded to 23 Hawai‘i Island organizations.

This year, more organizations are contributing to the STEM Learning Grants, the most recent being the Maunakea Observatories. HCF says this year’s goal is to distribute at least $700,000 in grants.

The types of programs funded through the STEM Learning Grants include after-school and intersession programs for students, project-based teams, robotics and student internships, equipment upgrades, STEM curriculum development in local schools, teacher development, mentor training, and STEM professional learning networks.

Twenty-nine applications for this year’s STEM Learning Grants are being reviewed now, and funding will be awarded in late March.

The THINK Fund at HCF also provides college scholarships. In 2015, 24 Hawai‘i Island students received a total of $95,500 in awards ranging from $3-7,500. The students are pursuing 17 different STEM degrees, from aerospace engineering to zoology.

This year’s college scholarships will be announced in May. One hundred thousand dollars worth of awards will be provided to students pursuing undergraduate or graduate level degrees, certificates, or other professional development coursework to become a STEM educator on Hawai‘i Island; or degrees or certificates in STEM-related fields.

Another bonus is that when a student applies to the THINK Fund at HCF scholarships, he or she is also considered for other HCF scholarships (HCF offers more than 200 in total).


GMOs Are Safe & We Need National Labeling Standard, Says Senate Committee

At a public hearing held Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Senators from both parties spoke about the “overwhelming scientific consensus regarding GMO safety,” and about the urgent need for Congress to pass a nationwide solution that prevents a “state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws” that has poor consequences for farmers, businesses, and consumers.

From the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food:

In a major step towards passage of a uniform, national labeling standard for foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing today that showcased the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding GMO safety, as well as the urgent need for Congressional action to pass a reasonable, common-sense solution that prevents a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws.

“Today’s hearing confirmed that GMOs are safe; a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws will have dire consequences for farmers, businesses and consumers; and the urgency for Congress to prevent these problems by passing a uniform national law,” said CFSAF spokesperson Claire Parker.

Senators from both parties spoke to the importance and safety of biotechnology and the need for a single national food labeling standard. Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) began the hearing by stating that “agriculture biotechnology has become a valuable tool in ensuring the success of the American farmer in meeting the challenge of increasing yield in a more efficient, safe, and responsible manner.”

Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) declared “I share the concern of doing business if 50 different states have 50 different standards and quite frankly, it wont work.” Senator Stabenow also said she hopes the Senate can “work together to develop a bipartisan bill that can pass the Senate by the end of this year.”

Wednesday’s hearing began with a panel of experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration offering testimony that reaffirmed the safety of GMOs.

Dr. Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, stated that “over the last 20 years, FDA has reviewed and evaluated data and information on more than 150 GE plant-derived foods…based on our evaluations, we are confident that foods from genetically engineered sources in the U.S. marketplace today are as safe as their conventional counterparts.”

Michael Gregoire, the associate administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, added, “we have great confidence in the safety of GE crops that have been approved under the current U.S. regulatory system.”

Following three hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives, this is the fourth time in the past 12 months where expert witnesses have confirmed the science and safety of biotechnology.

The Senate hearing comes less than ten months from the July 1 effective date of Vermont’s labeling mandate, which will be the first state to implement its own unique food labeling standard. Though Vermont’s law is currently being challenged in federal court, there is little chance of a judicial resolution in time to prevent the negative impacts of the misguided statute.

Joanna Lidback, a dairy farmer from Barton, Vermont, provided a first-hand account of the severe consequences that will ensue should Vermont’s law take effect next year. “The use of biotechnology on our farm is also important to the economic sustainability of our small business by keeping the price we pay for feed affordable,” said Lidback. “To compare prices, a non-GMO basic 20 percent protein complete feed would cost $555 per ton; the same conventional feed that we purchase is currently $305 per ton…a difference of $4,000 a month or $48,000 per year. I do not see how we could profitably farm in the long term with those increased costs, thus effectively pushing my small farm out of business.”

Daryl Thomas, executive vice president of Herr’s Snacks, testified that a patchwork of state labeling laws will cost his company more, likely leading to higher prices for consumers. “Absent a federal solution by July 2016 when Vermont’s law takes effect, manufacturers will have three options to comply: 1) redesign packaging, 2) reformulate products so that no label is required, or 3) halt sales to that state,” said Thomas. “While we have not made a final decision, we are considering several factors that will make it difficult to continue sales in Vermont. One factor is the ability of our distributor chain to segregate product for Vermont since it is the food manufacturer who is liable if mislabeled products make it onto store shelves. We recently received a note from the largest grocery wholesaler in the nation. The letter informed us that they ‘will not take additional steps to segregate or otherwise specifically direct the shipment of Vermont only products into Vermont.’”

“Discussions about mandatory GMO labeling laws reducing consumer choice are becoming much less theoretical and much more real,” Thomas continued. “If the number of products on store shelves decreases, not only will consumers lose choices, but the lack of choice and competition could drive up costs. For some households that cost might be easily absorbed. For others it could be significantly more difficult.”

It it increasingly clear that a bipartisan solution is attainable. In July, the House of Representatives passed its own bill that creates a single, national labeling standard, as well as a GMO-free certification program that assures consumers who prefer to purchase non-GMO foods have a consistent, transparent means of identifying those products. That legislation passed by a 275-150 vote with support of 45 Democrats. Today’s hearing provided plenty of evidence that similar bipartisan compromise is within reach in the Senate.


President Obama Announces Kamaaina Observatory Experience at Mauna Kea

It’s an honor for the best telescope in the world to be sited on our Maunakea. And it’s very appropriate for the President of the United States, a local boy, to highlight the great contributions of our astronomy sector. It’s also very appropriate that some of our voyaging people from the Hokule‘a were present when he acknowledged those contributions.

This is the spirit of “Not, no can. Can!!”

These are the things that Hawaiians are noted for!

“This is an extremely exciting time, with President Obama’s announcement underscoring the significance of Maunakea and Hawaii to astronomy,” said Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board. “TMT is honored to be a part of Hawaii’s astronomy community. We remain committed to integrating science and culture, providing the best possible stewardship of the mountain, and enriching the local community through education and outreach programs.”

Free Monthly Community Event to Welcome Hawaii Residents to the Maunakea Observatories

The Maunakea Observatories and Imiloa Astronomy Center announced the Kamaaina Observatory Experience, a monthly community event that welcomes Hawaii residents to the science reserve atop Maunakea to see world-class telescopes and learn about the cultural and environmental importance of the mountain.Hamakua Springs

The Kamaaina Observatory Experience was introduced yesterday in a speech by President Barack Obama at the White House Astronomy Night in Washington, D.C. The event, held on the South Lawn of the White House, brought together scientists, engineers and visionaries from astronomy and the space industry, including guests from Hawaii’s Imiloa Astronomy Center, Gemini Observatory and the Polynesian Voyaging Society, who shared an evening of stargazing and learning with students and teachers.

“We were honored to represent Hawaii’s tremendous contributions to the world of astronomy, education and culture on the White House lawn tonight,” said Kaiu Kimura, executive director of Imiloa Astronomy Center. “As part of Imiloa’s partnership with the Maunakea Observatories, we look forward to sharing these contributions with even more of our friends and ohana at home in Hawaii through the Kamaaina Observatory Experience.”

Hamakua Springs The new program will occur once a month and will include transportation to and from the summit and the Visitor Information Station, a cultural briefing, a one-hour safety and environmental briefing at Hale Pohaku, and a one-and-a-half hour visit to two of the Maunakea Observatories-the most scientifically productive collection of telescopes on earth. Participation will be free of charge and open to all Hawaii residents.

“The Kamaaina Observatory Experience will be the first program of its kind in the 50-year history of astronomy on Maunakea,” said Doug Simons, executive director of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). “The Maunakea Observatories make Hawaii one of the most respected sites on earth for astronomical discovery. It is our sincere hope that this program will inspire a passion among kamaaina for astronomy and an appreciation for the cultural and environmental future of Maunakea.”

Participating Maunakea Observatories in the program will include the CFHT, Gemini Observatory, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (EAO), NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, Subaru Telescope,
Submillimeter Array, the W.M. Keck Observatory, and in the future, the Thirty Meter Telescope.

The Kamaaina Observatory Experience will launch in early 2016 and will be open once a month to individuals 16 and older with a valid Hawai’i ID. Registration is required and will be available online on a first come, first served basis.

For more information about the Kamaaina Observatory Experience and to reserve a spot for an upcoming tour, visit

White House photo CC BY-SA 3.0 


Kalakaua at Lick Observatory

Did you know that Kalakaua was a true astronomy buff? He sailed across the ocean and rode a stagecoach up to the Lick Observatory outside San Jose.

My friend Peter Matlock, who just visited Lick Observatory, sent me this account of his visit:

My wife and I were recently at the University of California’s Lick Observatory, built outside San Jose back in 1880. 

For all those invoking the monarchy as they protest at the new leading location for astronomy, it might be useful to remind them that one of the first visitors to Lick, and an evident supporter, was King Kalakaua.

When Kalakaua made the trip in the 1880s, there was a single lane dirt road and it took 4 to 5 hours to travel by stagecoach from San Jose—and this after the voyage to get from Hawai`i to San Jose in the first place.

It still takes a high sense of dedication to and appreciation for the science of astronomy to make the trip to the Lick Observatory. Today it’s an hour drive and an elevation gain of over 4,200 feet from San Jose up a twisty narrow mountain road (365 turns, many hairpins)—often with a cliff on one side and a sheer drop-off on the other (and generally no guard rails).

I thought you might like to see some pictures I took there, as well.


When the Lick Observatory  was built, it had the then-largest refracting and reflecting telescopes in the world.

This facility was the leading astronomy facility at the end of the 19th century and has a long tradition of scientific innovations and discoveries. These include the almost immediate discovery of the fifth moon of Jupiter, use of photography and spectroscopy to record data and revolutionize our ability to probe and understand the universe, development of adaptive optics technology to improve resolution of astronomical images in real time, and Lick’s newest telescope—the Automated Planet Finder to discover planets outside our solar system.
The Lick Observatory continues to be a pioneer facility in astronomy.  

Is Our Culture Falling Backward?

This editorial ran in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald today. In case you didn’t see it, I’ll run what we sent them here.


The purpose of the Big Island Community Coalition is to work towards reduced electrical energy costs on the Island of Hawaii – where we pay up to four times the national average for our power.  We are particularly sensitive to electric power rates as very high rates serve essentially as a regressive tax on our population while greatly reducing the probability of generating jobs in any sector that is dependent on electricity.

There are occasions when events are so alarming that groups such as ours feel compelled to move beyond our primary task.  This is such a time.

We have observed with increasing alarm as our community has taken steps that inexorably blunt the forward movement of our economy and even move us backwards.  These include:

  1. Anti-Geothermal activists encouraged County government to ban nighttime drilling, effectively stopping expansion of a major source of renewable and inexpensive electric power beyond already-existing permits.This action was taken despite the existing plant meeting all applicable noise standards.  It appears that government officials took this action without first going to the site to verify that the noise was disruptive.  Once they did go to the site, some years later, government found that the noise was less than other environmental sounds (i.e., coqui frogs) and essentially no more than typical background noise.
  2. Anti-GMO activists lobbied to stop any new GMO products from being grown on the island – despite the fact that the vast majority of scientific, peer-reviewed studies found such products to be as safe, and in some cases more nutritious, as their non-GMO counterparts.  Legislation even prohibited GMO flowers – not consumed by anyone – from being grown on the island.  Thus family farmers lost the most effective new tools needed to reduce pesticide and herbicide usage while increasing productivity needed to keep their farms competitive.
  3. Now we have anti-Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) activists taking steps to stop construction of the most advanced telescope in the world.  If successful in stopping TMT, despite its sponsors following every legal requirement over a seven-year period, we will lose our world leading advantage in understanding the universe.

All of these actions share similar characteristics:

  • The arguments used to justify such actions are consistently anti-scientific.
  • “Anti” groups often obscure the lack of scientific evidence to support their position by using emotional pleas intended to incite fear.
  • The only “win” for many of these groups is to completely stop, thereby making them completely unwilling to consider any facts that refute their position or to make any reasonable compromise.
  • Long-term consequences are significant both culturally and economically.

Cultures that survive and thrive embrace new technologies carefully, thoughtfully and steadily.  Cultures and economies that thrive are innovative beccause they generate ideas and solutions, solve problems and take calculated but careful risks.

Cultures that fall backwards are those that fear advancement, fear change and cling to a mythicized view of yesteryear.  The net result is loss of their brightest and most hard working youth.  Those youth that remain find fewer and fewer jobs – those jobs having greatly diminished economic value and lower wages.  The downward spiral becomes inexorable.

As we look to tomorrow, we need to ask ourselves whether we wish to give our children the exciting and invigorating job market typified by Silicon Valley or a job market that is much closer to the poorer regions of third world countries.  It is up to us to point one way or another.  Driving TMT out will be one more major step to cultural and economic poverty.


Big Island Community Coalition

Richard Ha, President,

David DeLuz Jr., Rockne Freitas, Michelle Galimba, Wallace Ishibashi, Noe Kalipi, H.R “Monty” Richards, William Walter.


Support for New ‘Safe & Accurate Food Labeling Act’

Richard Ha writes:

This is very interesting. The Safe & Accurate Food Labeling Act was just introduced, which would establish a federal labeling standard for food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients GMOs).

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) just issued a very positive response to this federal labeling standard, as did the American Farm Bureau Federation. I’m including both below, and I agree completely with both of them.

Both praise the new act and agree that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be the entity to govern this policy, as opposed to a patchwork of state and local laws throughout the country. It’s the FDA that has the expertise: the people, the labs, the backing of all the major science organizations. The FDA is the organization that monitors for food safety.

This is exactly the kind of thing we’ve been talking about on the Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry advisory committee.

I am very glad to see we are all in agreement.       

March 25, 2015

GMA Praises Introduction of National Food Labeling Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, issued the following statement in response to the introduction today of The Safe & Accurate Food Labeling Act by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) to establish a federal labeling standard for food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs):

“No matter where they live or shop, all Americans deserve to have access to consistent, understandable information about the food they are eating, and this federal 
legislation would eliminate consumer uncertainty created by a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws, advance food safety, inform consumers and provide consistency in labeling.

“The entire purpose of food labeling is to provide consumers throughout our nation with clear and consistent information. Congress must pass a bipartisan bill this year to ensure Americans continue to have access to consistent FDA-approved and science-based standards for food labeling.

“It’s important to know that this technology has been around for the past 20 years, and today, 70-80 percent of the foods we eat in the United States contain ingredients that have been genetically modified.

“The overwhelming scientific consensus is that GMO ingredients are as safe as any other food. The Food and Drug Administration and major scientific and health organizations such as the American Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences and World Health Organization all have found GMOs are safe for humans and positive for the environment. More than 2,000 studies show a clear consensus among the world’s leading scientific organizations that GMO ingredients are safe.

“A single federal labeling standard for non-GMO and GMOs that is based on science would ensure that America’s farmers and food manufacturers work under a uniform standard across all 50 states and that consumers receive uniform, consistent information on GMOs. The alternative – a patchwork of state and local food laws across the country with different labeling mandates and requirements – will create confusion, cause significant new costs for Americans, and lead to critical problems for our nation’s grocery supply chain.

“A federal law is needed that keeps the authority to set safe, reasonable and national labeling requirements regarding GMOs with U.S. government agencies that have decades of scientific and regulatory expertise in this area. The Grocery Manufacturers Association strongly supports this legislation, and urges the House and Senate to adopt this national standard for science-based food labeling.”

Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe. 

Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day.  The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders. 

In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.  The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year.


American Farm Bureau Federation

Statement by Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 25, 2015 – “State-led mandatory food labeling initiatives mislead consumers about the safety of GM foods, even though there is no credible evidence linking a food-safety or health risk to the consumption of GM foods. These state labeling initiatives mask the benefits of biotechnology in food production and can lead to decreased food supplies. Creating a national labeling standard will give consumers the information they need while avoiding the unnecessary confusion and added cost of a patchwork of state laws.

“The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 would clarify the FDA as the nation’s foremost authority on food safety and create a voluntary labeling program run by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the same agency that administers the USDA Organic Program. We applaud the bipartisan leadership of Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) in reintroducing this bill.

“Consumers have a right to know what’s in their food, but they shouldn’t be misinformed about what’s safe, or forced to pay higher prices unnecessarily. Thanks to innovation, farmers and ranchers have new and improved methods to increase their efficiency while preserving farm land for generations to come. Farmers benefit from choice and so should consumers.”


Genetically Engineered Papaya as Collateral Damage

Richard Ha writes:

Anthony Shelton, an international professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, has written a 12-part series on Hawaiian papaya (he  calls it the "tragic papaya"), which he calls "collateral damage in the global debate on biotechnology." 

I'm linking to the series here:

Hawaiian Papaya: Collateral Damage in the Global Debate on Biotechnology

Article placed online: March 19, 2015

Hawaii’s Big Island has banned or severely limited the farming of genetically engineered (GE or GM) crops, a papaya developed by a native Hawaiian to resist a devastating virus disease. The battle over GE crops and the law enacted in Hawaii is a microcosm of the global fight determining the future of GE crops.

This 12-part series by entomologist Anthony Shelton is the first comprehensive article about a genetically engineered crop, in this case, GE papaya in Hawaii. The story describes the virus disease outbreak, the development of virus-resistant GE papaya, small-scale farmers who adopted it, the emergence of the opposition and their takeover of the democratic process, the scientist who developed the technology, and the future of GE crops.

Click on chapters below to start reading the article:

1. Tropical hurricane ‘Anti-GE Papaya’ hits Hawaii

2. Storm victims, Ross Sibucao and other smallholder farmers

3. Enter Hawaiian papaya scientist, Dennis Gonsalves

4. BB guns, intellectual property and the road to commercialization 

5. When local politics trumps science and farmers

6. The organized but ill-informed opposition

7. The hurricane gathers force

8. Where’s the science?

9. GE facts, fiction and fear

10. Few win, many lose

11. Path of destruction and collateral damage

12. A ‘Rainbow’ ending?

13. Current update on the status of GM papaya in Hawaii

14. Photo Credits


Ohia & Biotech

Richard Ha writes:

It turns out that ‘ohi‘a dieout is tied to a fungus.

The American chestnut was almost wiped out by a fungus, too. But a biotech solution might save the American chestnut.

Maybe a biotech solution can be found to help with the ‘ohi‘a fungus as well.

From the Hawai‘i Tribune-Herald:

Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Experts call it the single most important tree for the protection and proliferation of native forests across the state.

The ohia is the most widespread, as well as arguably the most beloved and iconic, native tree in Hawaii. And for the last five years, it has been under attack by a troubling new foe that had foresters and scientists scratching their heads.

Until recently.

A scientific paper currently under review reports findings that the disease, known as Rapid Ohia Death, is the result of a fungal pathogen called Ceratocystis, which has been found on other plants here including Okinawan sweet potato and taro. But this is the first instance of it killing ohia.

Read the rest


Law of the Splintered Paddle & Today

Richard Ha writes:

Kamehameha's Law of the Splintered Paddle has modern-day application. To those who aspire to be ali’i as they point their fingers in the air and pronounce what we must do to preserve the past: do not forget the rubbah slippah folks. 

You who want to be our ali‘i, our leaders – I don't see you leading us forward, but only back. You want to keep everything the way it used to be, while we are marching into crisis.

The rubbah slippah folks have the right to disagree with the (self-proclaimed) ali’i if those "ali‘i" do not take care of the people.

Read this historical note, from Wikipedia about the "removal of chiefs" due to the mistreatment of common people intolerant of bad government:

It has been noted that Kānāwai Māmalahoe [the Law of the Splintered Paddle] was not an invention of Kamehameha I, but rather an articulation of concepts regarding governmental legitimacy that have been held in Hawaiʻi for many prior generations. Countless stories abound in Hawaiian folklore of the removal of chiefs – generally, but not always, through popular execution – as a result of mistreatment of the common people, who have traditionally been intolerant of bad government. As a shrewd politician and leader as well as a skilled warrior, Kamehameha used these concepts to turn what could have been a point of major popular criticism to his political advantage, while protecting the human rights of his people for future generations.

The price of oil is four times higher than it was ten years ago and the price of everything is through the roof (and still going up). More and people people cannot afford to live here; in fact, more Hawaiians live outside Hawai‘i than on these islands. Isn't that the same as losing our land?

How are you addressing that? How is trying to shut down our geothermal resource (which will substantially reduce our electricity costs), trying to outlaw our biotech options (which will substantially reduce our food costs), and trying to keep out the TMT (which will open up all sorts of new options), helping our people?

The world is changing. There is more and more homelessness. More than half of all Hawaiians no longer live in Hawai‘i. Young folks cannot find jobs. Farmers are getting older and older, because young people are not going into farming.

What will happen to the rubbah slippah folks in the face of finite resources? Those who aspire to be ali‘i, remember this: "You cannot be ali’i if you cannot feed the people."

  • Geothermal is a gift from Pele that will protect us from electricity and other costs that are spiraling out of control. Why would anyone aspiring to be ali’i want to take away this gift in the face of declining resources?
  • The Thirty Meter Telescope brings our young people great opportunity and inspiration, and it brings the island economic gain, jobs, and more than $50 million in cash to a fund for the education of our keiki. Why would anyone aspiring to be ali’i take these opportunities away from our future generations?
  • Biotechnology is a tool that will safely feed our people. Why would anyone aspiring to be ali’i take  this tool away from farmers trying to feed the people? Farmers representing ninety percent of the farm sales on the Big Island favor using biotech tools. Why look to outsiders for advice when Big Island farmers are telling you what you need to know?

If it wasn't used in pre-contact time, it's bad? Is that really your thinking? Would Kamehameha agree?


Study of 100 Billion Animals Fed GMO Feed: No Problems

Richard Ha writes:

A scientific review by UC Davis found no sign of health or nutrition problems from GMO livestock feed.

From UC David News & Information on September 25, 2014:

A new scientific review from the University of California, Davis, reports that the performance and health of food-producing animals consuming genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed.

The review study also found that scientific studies have detected no differences in the nutritional makeup of the meat, milk or other food products derived from animals that ate genetically engineered feed.

The review, led by UC Davis animal scientist Alison Van Eenennaam, examined nearly 30 years of livestock-feeding studies that represent more than 100 billion animals.

Titled “Prevalence and Impacts of Genetically Engineered Feedstuffs on Livestock Populations,” the review article is now available online in open-access form through the American Society of Animal Science: It will appear in print and open-access in the October issue of the Journal of Animal Science….

Read the rest

Jon Etine, writing at the Genetic Literacy Project, also talks about this. He writes that "Although there have been more than two thousand studies documenting that GMOs do not pose an unusual threat to human health, questions about the safety of genetically modified foods remain in the minds of many consumers."

He goes on to say: "Estimates of the numbers of meals consumed by feed animals since the introduction of GM crops 18 years ago would be well into the trillions. By common sense alone, if GE feed were causing unusual problems among livestock, farmers would have noticed. Dead and sick animals would literally litter farms around the world. Yet there are no anecdotal reports of such mass health problems." Read the rest

His article is titled 29-year study of trillions of meals shows GE crops do not harm food-producing animals, humans.